Do-It-Yourself with Help From Books

Writing your resume yourself is probably a better option than paying one of the cut-rate providers and receiving an inferior resume–and then assuming that it will get you interviews. Try writing it yourself, turning to expert guidance from books to guide you. Books I recommend:

  • “Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed, Get Hired” by Louise M. Kursmark and Wendy S. Enelow (published in 2016). This is a great reference.
  • Resume Magic: Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer by Susan Britton Whitcomb. This is the “Bible” of resume writing, but at 500 or so pages, only get this if you have the patience!
  • Executive Job Search for $100,000 to $1 Million+ Jobs by Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark. Has resume samples and guidelines that are specific to senior executives. It’s a little dated, but most principles are the same.

ALSO: Everyone should read 100 Conversations for Career Success: Learn to Network, Cold Call, and Tweet Your Way to Your Dream Job by Laura M. Labovich and Miriam Salpeter. It’s a quick, easy, read that contains essential know-how for every modern job search. Mastering these essentials is arguably more important than polishing your resume.

Employment Development Department

The state of California has employment offices all over that help job seekers. However, you must first have a resume before they’ll help you out one-on-one. They offer classes about how to write resumes and cover letters, and you can do it yourself after attending their classes (and/or with the help of other resources). Once you have your resume, you can meet one-on-one with a career counselor there who can help you. You can find the location of your nearest One-Stop Career Center at (For other states – check with your local government offices.)


If you do the resume yourself, you can have it edited on the website Kibin offers free editing by everyday people, but to get free editing, you have to edit someone else’s work. They also offer editing for very low fees if you want it faster and don’t want to do any editing yourself. The person editing your work might not necessarily be a very good writer or editor, but the work is reviewed by an editor on staff. However, as with any low-cost or free service, don’t expect it to be the level of quality you’d get from a well-qualified resume writer. But it can be helpful if you take the do-it-yourself route, as they may spot things you’ve missed.